Shirley Ballas addresses Darcey Bussell’s Strictly Come Dancing exit

Shirley Ballas has addressed Darcey Bussell’s exit from the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel.

Ballet icon Darcey, 50, shocked fans of the BBC dancing competition when she announced she was departing following seven series, having joined in 2012.

After announcing she was leaving, rumours surrounding her exit began to swirl and it was recently reported producers wanted to get the judges dancing more but Darcey wasn't keen on the idea.

When quizzed about the claims, head judge Shirley appeared to hint that Darcey's departure could have very well had something to do with the fact she didn’t want to dance on the show.

'I do know that the BBC wanted the professionals to do a little bit more dancing,' Shirley told The Sun.

A photo posted by on

'So I don't know whether it was uncomfortable, or did she want to do it, or didn't she want to do it?

More: Shirley Ballas reveals she is to undergo big operation in midst of Strictly

'I was all up for it because I think, "you’re older but you’re not dead and you can still do a bit".'

Darcey was eventually replaced by Motsi Mabuse, who has proved to be a huge hit with viewers so far.

'Motsi, Craig and Bruno all love to dance,' Shirley, 59, continued. 'We get so excited. But I wish Darcey well and I'm sure she'll find her own thing. She's a national treasure.'

More: Strictly Come Dancing drops iconic segment from show – but did you spot it?

Darcey previously said her decision to quit was down to the fact she wanted to focus on other commitments after so many years on the show.

A photo posted by on

'I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can’t imagine having gone any better,' she said earlier this year.

'I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day.'